The destruction of the lions’ den of Assyria (Nah 2:11-2:13)

“What became

Of the lions’ den?

What became

Of the cave

Of the young lions?

There the lion goes.

There his cubs were,

With none to disturb them.

The lion has torn enough

For his whelps.

He strangled prey

For his lionesses.

He has filled his caves

With prey.

He has filled his dens

With torn flesh.

‘See!

I am against you!’

Says Yahweh of hosts!

‘I will burn

Your chariots

In smoke.

The sword shall devour

Your young lions.

I will cut off

Your prey

From the earth.

The voice

Of your messengers

Shall be heard no more.’”

Assyria was considered a lion or a destroyer.  Nahum wanted to know what had happened to this proud lion’s den or his cave.  There his young cubs would be undisturbed.  He had gathered enough prey for these lionesses, as well as their cubs.  This lion of Assyria had filled his caves and dens with torn flesh.  All this would be gone.  Yahweh has issued an oracle against Assyria.  Yahweh would burn their chariots as they would go up in smoke.  Their young lions would die by the sword.  They would lose all their prey.  The voice of their messengers would not be heard anymore.  The end of Nineveh and Assyria was near.

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The prophecy against Amaziah (Am 7:16-7:17)

“Therefore,

Hear the word of Yahweh!

You say.

‘Do not prophesy

Against Israel!

Do not preach

Against the house of Isaac!

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Your wife shall become

A prostitute in the city.

Your sons,

Your daughters,

Shall fall by the sword.

Your land

Shall be parceled out

By line.

You yourself shall die

In an unclean land.

Israel shall surely

Go into exile

Away from its land.’”

Amos wanted Amaziah to hear the word of Yahweh that he had heard. While Amaziah had said not to prophesize in Israel or against the house of Israel, Yahweh, via Amos, responded by telling him that his wife would become a prostitute in the city. Both his sons and daughters would die by the sword. His land would be parceled out by the line. Finally, Amaziah would die in a foreign unclean land, because Israel was going to be sent into exile into a land far from there. This was a very strong rebuke of Amaziah.

They have turned against God (Hos 7:14-7:16)

“They do not cry to me

From the heart.

But they wail

Upon their beds.

They gash themselves

For grain,

For wine.

They rebel against me.

I trained them.

I strengthened

Their arms.

Yet they devise evil

Against me.

They turn to Baal,

A useless unprofitable god.

They have become

Like a defective bow.

Their officials

Shall fall

By the sword,

Because of the rage

Of their tongues.

So much for babbling

In the land of Egypt.”

The Israelites were not crying out to Yahweh from their hearts. Instead they were weeping and wailing in their own beds. They gashed themselves that had been forbidden by the law of Moses, hoping for grain and wine. They had rebelled against Yahweh. Yet it was Yahweh who had trained them and strengthened their arms. However, they continually devised evil against Yahweh, turning to the useless Baal gods. They had become defective bows that could not shoot arrows. Thus, their officials would fall by the sword. Their raging tongues sent them babbling to the Egyptians.

Israel will become a land of desolation (Ezek 33:27-33:29)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Say this to them!

As I live!

Surely those who are

In the waste places

Shall fall

By the sword.

Those who are

In the open fields,

I will give

To the wild animals

To be devoured.

Those who are

In the strongholds,

In the caves,

Shall die

By pestilence.

I will make the land

A desolation.

I will make it

A waste.

Its proud might

Shall come to an end.

The mountains of Israel

Shall be so desolate

That no one

Will pass through.

Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I have made

The land

A desolation,

A waste,

Because of all

The abominations

That they have committed.’”

Yahweh God told Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that the land of Israel was going to become a wasteland. People would die by the sword. Wild animals would devour people in the open fields. People in the strongholds and caves would die from pestilence. The land would become desolate. The proud ones would come to an end. The mountains of Israel would be so desolate that no one would pass through them. Finally, they would know that Yahweh had made the land a desolation and a waste, because of all the abominations that they had committed.

Meshech and Tubal in the grave (Ezek 32:26-32:26)

“Meshech

With Tubal

Are there.

All their multitude

Is there.

Their graves are

All around them.

All of them were

Uncircumcised.

They had been killed

By the sword.

They had spread terror

In the land

Of the living.”

Ezekiel had mentioned both these obscure kingdoms in chapter 27 when he was talking about the trading partners of Tyre. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. Tubal seemed to be some Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Like those preceding, these two groups of people were uncircumcised. They, too, had spread terror in the land of the living, but also died by the sword.

Elam in the pit (Ezek 32:24-32:25)

“Elam is there.

All its hordes are

Around its grave.

All of them

Were killed,

Fallen by the sword.

They went down,

Uncircumcised,

Into the world below.

They had spread

Terror

In the land

Of the living.

They bear their shame

With those who go down

To the pit.

They have made Elam

A bed

Among the slain

With all its hordes of people.

Their graves are

All around it.

All of them

Are uncircumcised.

They were killed

By the sword.

Terror of them

Was spread

In the land

Of the living.

They bear their shame

With those who go down

To the pit.

They are placed

Among the slain.”

Elam was the grandson of Noah or a people in present day southern Iran or Persia. Thus, Elam, with its inhabitants around its grave, was there in the pit, the shadowy afterlife. They had all been killed by the sword. They went down into the pit uncircumcised. While they were living, they had spread terror. Thus, they bear the same shame of the others who have gone down into the pit. They were in a bed with graves all around them, filled with uncircumcised people who were killed by the sword. The worst place in the pit was with these uncircumcised people who had died by the sword.

Assyria in the pit (Ezek 32:22-32:23)

“Assyria is there.

All its company is there.

Their graves are

All around it.

All of them killed,

Fallen by the sword.

Their graves are set

In the uttermost parts

Of the pit.

Its company

Is all around

Its grave.

All of them

Have been killed,

Fallen by the sword.

They had spread

Terror

In the land

Of the living.”

There apparently was a special place for the Assyrians in this pit or Sheol, the shadowy underworld of the afterlife. Somehow their graves were all around them, since they were all killed by the sword. Thus, their graves were set off in the uttermost parts of this pit. The Assyrian company armies were all around in graves also, since all of them had died by the sword. While they were living, they had spread terror. Now they were in the worst part of Sheol.